Time Magazine did a story about the ‘Most Significant Person in History’ and concluded after a very comprehensive and detailed research program that Jesus was that person. The results appeared in their December 10th, 2013 edition.
If one googles ‘the most significant person in History’ and searches through the numerious websites claiming this title you will find that Jesus appears more than any other claimant.
His life story on film has had more than eight billion views and counting. The Jesus film has been translated into 1,800 languages.
His life story is written in the most read and most published book in history. There have been some five plus billion copies of the Bible distributed in over 340 languages. And at least one book of the Bible is available in over 2,000 languages.
What do we know about Jesus from texts apart from the Bible?
Jesus is mentioned in the writings of both the Jewish historian Josephus “Antiquities of the Jews” (Bk.XVIII.III.3 written about 93 AD) and the theologian Origen, in his book “Contra Celsum” written about 248 AD. See references below.
J. Warner Wallace, Author of Cold Case Christianity was a former homicide detective and former atheist. He used his ‘cold case’ skills to verify the reality of the existence of Jesus:
Sir Lionel Luckhoo(1914-1997) is considered one of the greatest lawyers in British history. He's recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "World's Most Successful Advocate," with 245 consecutive murder acquittals. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II -- twice. Luckhoo declared:
I humbly add I have spent more than 42 years as a defense trial lawyer appearing in many parts of the world and am still in active practice. I have been fortunate to secure a number of successes in jury trials and I say unequivocally the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.3
It is recorded in the Bible that at least 513 people saw Jesus after his resurrection. These recorded eye-witness accounts happened on at least 8 separate occasions.
The largest volume and most authenticated writings about the teachings of Jesus were recorded by those ‘eyewitnesses’ who actually lived with and were taught by Jesus himself. The accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as recorded in the Bible have stood the test of time and the sceptics. Millions of followers of Jesus around the world can attest to the value and transformational nature of his teachings.
One would draw the conclusion that it would beneficial if people could be encouraged to examine and explore the teachings of Jesus.
Might this not help to address racism and violence in our societies?
Consider some other celebrations and events that would demonstrate the impact and the significance of this person Jesus.
1. Throughout most of the world the usual way to refer to the calendar year was by using the abbreviations BC and AD. BC was short hand for ‘before Christ’ and AD was shorthand for ‘anno domini- in the year of our Lord (Latin). Despite being unable to establish the exact date of Jesus’ birth, it was and is still used as the fulcrum for the Western way of marking time.
2.In many countries around the world, the events of Christmas and Easter are celebrated. They came to be celebrated because of the significance of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection.
3. There are many phrases attributable to him, however the best known is the famous ‘Golden Rule’ sometimes articulated as ‘Treat others as you want them to treat you.’ Jesus said it like this ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
4. In a time and culture that was almost exclusively patriarchal, Jesus did not shy away from expounding the value of the women and children. Would he be the most potent advocate for women and children in history?
Is it any wonder, then, that Christians are the largest religious group in the world?
Graham McDonald is the President of Diduno